4 January 2017

South Africa: Wildfires Now Target Stellenbosch

Wildfires are now burning in Stellenbosch, the Stellenbosch Fire Brigade said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town said fires in the Somerset West area were almost contained.

The Stellenbosch Fire Brigade said the slopes of the Jonkershoek Mountains started burning on Wednesday morning. No buildings were currently in danger.

Fires on the Helderberg Mountains were roughly 80% contained, the city said in a statement.

"Wind conditions are still variable, which affects firefighting operations, and hence the fire is not yet completely under control."

Three buildings were destroyed. One of them was the upper Bezweni Lodge, high on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains.

Seventy families had to vacate the area on Tuesday evening.

After being closed on Wednesday morning, the N2 to Grabouw was reopened. The entrance into Sir Lowry's Pass Village from the N2 remained closed intermittently, depending on smoke in the area.

Three others fires broke out over the past few days. They were a bush and grass fires on the slopes of the mountain above Victoria Road in Llandudno, a fire on De Waal Drive in Zonnebloem, and a fire near Big Bay Boulevard on the West Coast Road.

None of these fires posed a threat to life or damaged buildings.

The city's mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said in the statement that he was grateful for public support, which he said had been overwhelming. Residents were providing refreshments to firefighting crews.

"It has been heartening to see that the hard work of our firefighters is not going unnoticed," he said.

Source: News24

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